What’s your name? Where were you born? Where do you live? And what’s your hobby?
Art Blum. Born in Chicago, Illinois. Live in LA. My hobby is writing.
Where did you come up with the concept that just placed as Finalist in the screenplay contest? How long did it take you to develop it into the screenplay it is now?
I was writing another screenplay about a young career woman who has inherited trauma. She dreams about this other woman from a past time and all the trials and tribulations she went through. And then I realized this character she dreams about had a compelling story in its own rite. So, I wrote a separate short story about her.
From concept to finished draft, can you take us through your screenwriting process?
I saw this story in my mind and wrote an outline and then a first draft. The process is never ending. I still do rewrites.
One thing that helped is I went through the script and found 4 or 5 scenes where the main characters discuss what really matters to them. The dialogue amounted to a few throwaway lines. I separated these scenes from the script and turned the discussions into heated arguments. What developed was I discovered what mattered to me and the real reason I was writing the story. I went through the script again and revised it so the entire thing reflected my feelings about the story.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a screenwriter?
A long time ago I saw a film called “I Never Sang For My Father.” It starred Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman. It’s about a father-son relationship. It rang true to me as there are similarities between that film and my life. I wondered if I could ever write anything that could evoke that much emotion. I don’t think I ever came close but that’s my early inspiration.
Who are your biggest filmmaking/screenwriting influences? What about their style do you like or borrow?
There are many. Here are two. I like Mel Brooks, The Producers, etc. He takes on tough issues like greed and racism and shows them in a humorous way. I like Paddy Chayefsky, Network, and Altered States. He has a dark sense of humor and gives the viewer a broader perspective on life.
Have you ever been obsessed with a movie or TV show? If so, which one? Why?
One I enjoy is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” It’s not Tarantino’s best movie but I really like the relationship between Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. I like how they genuinely care for each other and how they enjoy going out of their way to help each other. Since the film is episodic, you can watch a few favorite scenes and be satisfied.
What’s your favorite moment in cinema history? Why?
Godfather II, when Vito returns to Corleone and kills the guy who killed his mother. It was justice and I loved the De Nero parts of the movie.
Who’s your favorite character in cinema history? Why?
I don’t have THE favorite, but Paul Newman in The Verdict and Paul Newman in The Hustler were people who found salvation and reinvented themselves. They pulled themselves up by the bootstraps.
If you could talk to anyone from any era, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would like to talk to my grandfather (died in 1955) and ask him what prompted him to leave Russia, how he got out, etc. When I used to think about what I’m grateful for I used to think my health, I have a good job, and so on. But since the war in Ukraine I realize I’m especially grateful for my grandparents leaving Russia.